posted on Feb, 9 2018 @ 12:04 PM
In May of 2005 I traveled down to North Carolina to meet my pharaoh hound puppy. He had giant ears, big paws and blue eyes. He bit me on the chin. 2
weeks later, when he was 8 weeks old I drove down south again to pick him up and bring him home. I didn't have any experience with sighthounds and
everything I read was that they were stubborn and independent. I found him to be one of the most intelligent dogs I'd ever been around...he mastered
every new behavior that I cued him in a few short lessons. Basic things like sit, down, shake, off, leave it, and even taught him cues for bow and
smiling. (The cue for smiling was flipping him the middle finger...I had to change that cue because my mother objected to it.) He learned how to
follow the retractable lead back to me, rather than a straight line. He was very good at figuring out things...like he figured out which squirrel
belonged to which tree...and that to catch a squirrel he had to run to the backside of the tree and time his jump.
Fast forward almost 13 years...Xerxes has been the most loyal of all dogs, friendly to strangers but aloof. He never liked to be touched by
strangers, but he also never bit anyone, or even growled. He was just a good hound dog, hiking buddy and an inside couch potato.
About 3 weeks ago he started limping. I took him to the vet for Xrays and they said arthritis, but it was impossible to get better xrays because
he's very fidgety on the table. We got some pain meds and they kinda sorta worked, but the dog never indicated pain. He never flinched, winced or
even made a sound when I massaged his legs every night. It went from bad to worse and he would walk 50 feet and then lay down on the cold ground
during a walk, by this time both legs were getting visibly weaker. For the last 3 days I would carry him up and down the stairs to go outside.
Last night he woke me up at 1am literally screaming in pain and confusion. I did my best to make him comfortable, putting him on a blanket and
bringing him a small dish of water and a little food. He still kept moaning and crying and fidgeting; he couldn't get into a position that didn't
cause him pain. I made the call this morning and took him into the vet's office at 1030am. At 11:10am, with my head on his chest, I heard and felt
his last gasps for air and heard his heart slowly fade and stop.
I think he knew this day was coming a few days ago..when he licked my hands, and my face in an uncharacteristic way.
RIP Xerxes, you will certainly be missed. I'm so sorry that it ended this way. You were a good dog, a faithful companion and a friend like no
other. The condo feels empty without you here.